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In my 20+ years as a story analyst for Hollywood film studios and production companies, I've read my share of stories and we are always looking for that "sense of foreboding," no matter the genre. This is easy to achieve for a scene or two but difficult to sustain. My Cousin Rachel not only opens with a sense of foreboding but Daphne du Maurier has the skill to continue it all the way to the very last word.
I have been a longtime fan of du Maurier's Rebecca; in fact, it's in my Top 10 all-time favorite novels. But, I found My Cousin Rachel to be just a tad more accessible than Rebecca and equally as compelling.
This is the story of Ambrose Ashley and his ward, his young cousin Philip, who are torn apart by the appearance into their lives of a distant cousin named Rachel. When Ambrose, who is not in good health and must spend winters in warmer climates, moves to Italy for the winter and marries Rachel suddenly, Philip is not pleased. In fact, he's jealous and thinks the worst of Ambrose's new bride. But when Ambrose ends up dying while abroad, all kinds of evil thoughts float through Philip's mind, prompted by letters to him from Ambrose. The most important thought is: did Rachel poison Ambrose?
And then Rachel comes to England and meets Philip. At first suspicious, Philip soon finds his cousin Rachel to be sweet and kind and considerate...or, is she?
This gothic-romance is stirring and engaging and a wonderful literary experience. I highly recommend it.
In addition, the narration by Jonathan Pryce adds so much to the literary experience. He captures the smoldering tension floating through Philip's mind and makes the novel easy to listen to and easy to understand. In other words, he's fantastic!
50 of 51 people found this review helpful
As a huge Graham Greene fan, one of her novels popped up in 'people also purchased' while looking through GG's 'also'. I chose "My Cousin Rachel" based on reviews & commentary about DDM's ability to maintain suspense throughout the novel.
They were right! And such a unique type of suspense - a low level of dread that made me ache for the ending or final surprise reveal (if there was going to be one) from the first 30 minutes.
One of those rare novels that leaves you feeling you're still living the narrator's life long after you're done.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful